by: Bill Jones ~ St. Augustine Beach Civic Association

Surf Illumination a big success – Over 500 people enjoyed an evening of holiday music, pictures with Santa, a little holiday shopping and watched Commissioner Don Samora light the City’s Christmas Tree! This was the 17th annual tree lighting produced and paid for by the Saint Augustine Beach Civic Association and its sponsors. SABCA Vice President Robert Samuels headed us a group of volunteers to staff the event. Our thanks to Santa, Mrs. Claus, our volunteers and the City Public Works Department that strings the lights on the palm trees and puts up the Christmas Tree each year. The cost of a Christmas Tree has gone up – Each year the Civic Association allocates money to pay for the City’s Christmas Tree. It’s generally a large tree trucked in from the great state of North Carolina by Glen Lightsey who has operated Lightsey’s Holiday Trees for years in Saint Augustine. Glen’s prices are always competitive and the tree he brings us each year is beautiful. From time to time there have been price increases and Glen always treats us fairly. This year, through no fault of Mr. Lightsey, our tree and Surf Illumination celebration came with an unexpected $270 surcharge. Apparently, the County’s budget situation is so dire that instead of co-sponsoring the event as they had in previous years, the Civic Association was forced to pay a permit fee for use of the Promenade at Pier Park. So, a non-profit organization using a park paid for with tax dollars, now enjoys the privilege of paying the County to put on a holiday celebration for those same citizens that paid for the park. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture? If you bought a natural evergreen tree for your home this Christmas, just be grateful that St Johns County was not involved with your celebration.


November Meeting Recap – At our November meeting we heard from Nicole Pece of the Betty Griffin Center. Nicole shared some statistics on the assistance BGC provided in the last year in addition to some future plans. The services provided by the center and its team for victims of domestic and sexual violence is so important. The Civic Association was delighted to present a check for $2100 to the Betty Griffin Center at the end of the meeting.

Beach Blast Off – The Civic Association is again proud to support Beach Blast Off. We are looking for a few volunteers to join us on New Years Eve. We’ll be manning a tent and selling light up novelties for children. We’ll need just a few people for a couple of hours each. If you’d like to volunteer, please email us at or call 904-347-8007.

For the Holidays – As 2018 comes to an end, please remember a Civic Association Membership makes a great holiday gift. Just visit our website at and click on the Membership tab. Cost for an Individual is just $15 and $25 for a family or business. Your membership card gets you discounts on food & beverage and professional services at over 70 local businesses. On behalf of the SABCA Board of Directors, I would like to wish you and your family a happy, loving and safe Holiday Season!